Firstly let me begin by mentioning that this is my first review for TA, and I hope I can live up to some of the other excellent efforts on this site. After the mediocre start to 2013 (thanks in no small part to Aliens: Colonial Marines, perhaps the biggest disappointment in my 20-year gaming life) I was looking forward with great anticipation to Crysis 3. I regard the second game in the series as one of my all-time favourite games, and so I was eagerly awaiting this release. The following are some of my thoughts and observations concerning plot, graphics, audio, multiplayer, and achievements. Beware of spoilers.
I had hoped that this game would follow on from the victory of Alcatraz in Central Park, in that you would have to scour far-reaching locales to eradicate the remnants of the Ceph around the globe. Instead we are back in New York again, albeit a more post-apocalyptic, overgrown version of it. My main gripe about the plot and thus the length of the game is that it is far too short, and most of the characters in the second game are completely absent and many forgotten. This disappointed me, as I had hoped Gould, Strickland, Barclay, Chino etc would play some role. You only need to read the credits to see that there are 4 main characters, and this hinders the depth of the story. Although Psycho is back (and is one of the main strengths of the story) there is little in the way of immersion and I found it hard to relate to the plot. The mission briefings were uninspiring when compared to the nanosuit and character-narrated segments in the previous game, which I found exciting from start to finish. There are also few if any set-pieces, which were so plentiful in Crysis 2, such as Central Park rising out of the ground, and the opening scene in particular when you are leaving Battery Park. Moreover, I felt whilst playing the second game that the player assumed the role of Alcatraz (due to his silent nature), and I could relate to being given this state of the art nanosuit to carry on Prophet's work. I feel that the plot of this game lays waste to all of that, and despite it being a decent story in and of itself, it pales next to the experience I had with the second game. Whilst I appreciate the merging of aspects of both the first and second iterations I think that this game lives up to neither.
Graphically Crysis 3 is top-notch, with spectacular looking environments and effects, and this was a breadth of fresh air after the aforementioned start to the year. Crytek have proved that the hardware still has some life, and that there are no excuses for shoddy efforts and screen-tearing and such.
From an audio perspective, I found that bar a couple of themes during the mission briefings, the music was bland compared to the previous installment. Borislav Slavov returns as principal composer, and does a decent effort, but in my opinion the main theme does not compare to that of the second game (perhaps due to the contribution of one Hans Zimmer). I was so impressed with that soundtrack that I bought it, however this effort did not impress. Aside from the soundtrack, there are the usual gunshots and explosions which sound excellent, and I enjoyed the vocal performance of David Kennedy as Psycho, who brings a lot of emotion to his character.
From a multiplayer perspective, it takes a great deal to impress me as I have never really embraced this aspect of modern gaming. My favourite online experience is Battlefield, but this game makes a solid effort and it is a great deal of fun. In fact, I have enjoyed the multiplayer more than the campaign, which is saying something. Although at times it can be hard to see cloaked players, and often frustrating when players camp whilst cloaked and spray to their hearts content with LMGs, all in all it is a satisfying aspect of the game.
Achievement-wise, this game will take a fair bit of time to complete. The main reason for this is the number of collectibles and the token Crytek glitched achievement. The rest of the effort will be directed at multiplayer.
In conclusion, Crysis 3 is not the ending to the trilogy that I had envisioned or expected. In spite of this, it still stands up as a decent shooter with a good online experience. It is just unfortunate that it could not live up to or surpass its stellar predecessors.